West End Shisha café owner could face jail if he allows smoking indoors
By poppy_smith | Friday, January 18, 2013, 18:18
A shisha café owner could be jailed if he endangers public health by permitting smoking indoors, Westminster City Council has warned.
Former manager of Arabesque café in Marylebone, Anwar Majid was cautioned and four members of staff prosecuted by Westminster City Council for allowing tobacco smoking on numerous occasions in the ground floor and under a canopy.
Council inspectors found smoking at the front of the New Quebec Street premises under a substantial canopy that broke rules preventing smoking indoors. On another occasion they found customers actually smoking within the building after licensed hours.
At a hearing today (Thursday) to review the café's licence to operate, Westminster Licensing Sub Committee heard neighbouring businesses and residents had also complained about noise nuisance and tobacco smoke at the premises.
The committee heard that since the offences, committed between May 2010 and August 2012, Mr Majid had been fired and replaced by Khalid Abbas and there had been no further infringements.
Mr Abbas assured the hearing that in future smoking would occur only outside and under umbrellas in a less enclosed space.
Committee Chairman, Councillor Tim Mitchell ruled that the council would take no further action in the case.
But he warned: "If there are any further breaches that break law would lead to an injunction and that could mean criminal prosecution and ultimately imprisonment.
"Review hearings are costly and since they are met by tax payers we are keen to prevent any further hearings."